5 key principles
The internet isn’t short on inspiration when it comes to styling babies’ rooms. Type “nursery ideas” into Google and you’ll be served literally millions of results – you could wade through images of covetable baby spaces for hours.
But what if all this inspo leaves you feeling a tad overwhelmed?
If this is you, we get it! It’s normal to feel confused and fatigued when faced with hundreds of little choices, especially when you’ve got a baby on the way. Parenthood is a crazy ride, whether you’re doing it for the first time or the fourth, and we all feel a degree of pressure to get things right – from feeding and sleeping routines to choosing the most functional pram or the safest cot.
But setting up your new bub’s room should be a joyful, exciting experience, which is why we’ve created this guide. Rather than getting caught up in imagery and trends, try structuring your nursery around these five key principles instead.
(At the end we’ll give you some tips on creating a moodboard, so you’ll have everything you need to get started planning a nursery that you and your child will love!)
5 key ingredients for nurseries
These guiding principles should help you as you make decisions about styling your nursery.
It’s no secret that at Huxford Grove we love minimalist design, neutral tones, and long-lasting sustainable products. You’ll see why we favour these choices for nurseries as you read through these principles.
Sustainability comes top of our list because it overarches everything we believe about good nursery design. Looking after our planet is so important for the next generation, so we all need to make a conscious effort to avoid plastic, harmful chemicals and throwaway items that will one day end up in landfill.
Nowadays, there are plenty of sustainable options on the market, including:
- certified organic cotton, linen or bamboo bedding.
- wallpaper made from recycled or FSC-certified paper to safeguard the world’s forests.
- furniture, decor and toys constructed from FSC-certified timber.
- handmade wares. Buying handmade is better for the environment and supports small business – try Etsy for mobiles, wall art, puzzles, soft toys, bespoke personalised products such as name plates, and more. Extra points for buying local!
- sheepskin and wool products like rugs, cushions and shearlings. At Huxford Grove, we use ethically sourced New Zealand wool – one of the purest fibres in the world, which is naturally 100% biodegradable. All of our pieces are crafted using only environmentally responsible production methods.
- up-cycled and vintage items. It’s lovely to incorporate these into your baby’s room, particularly if they come with stories passed down from other family members. Carefully choosing vintage items can add warmth and personality to your nursery and keeps things out of landfill.
We know so much more today than previous generations did about toxins in our environment. It pays to do your homework on what nursery products are made from, because obviously we don’t want any nasties near our babies.
Fortunately, sustainable products tend to be healthier products (for instance, some eco-friendly wallpapers are also free from other harmful chemicals like PVC, formaldehyde and phthalates), so if you’re shopping with sustainability in mind then you’re likely to find products that are safer for your baby too.
Health considerations for your baby’s nursery should include:
- doing your homework on volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be released from products like furniture, paint, toys, mattresses and cleaning products, and then inhaled by us. Children’s developing bodies are especially at risk when exposed to VOCs; they breathe at a faster rate than adults, plus they spend loads of time crawling on carpets and mats and exploring the world with their mouths.
- hypoallergenic products.
- Babies are sensitive to heat and cold, so think about whether your nursery is likely to be too cool or too warm.
- safe sleeping. Natural fibres such as organic cotton, linen, bamboo and wool are best for babies. Fabrics that are free of bleaches and toxins are the healthiest option for your child – just remember to follow SIDS guidelines and keep cots and bassinets clear of excess bedding and toys.
One of the reasons we love working with wool at Huxford Grove is that it ticks all the wellness boxes listed above. Our versatile and cosy Kingston shearling and luxurious Richmond rug are perfect additions to any baby nursery for their health benefits alone.
Our wool products are:
- 100% natural and free from harmful chemicals.
- easy to keep clean. Wool’s cuticle (or outer layer) is finely waxed, meaning dirt sits on the surface and is easy to remove. Wool is far easier to clean than many synthetic fabrics, so you don’t need to worry about harmful dirt buildup and irksome stains.
- non-allergenic. Wool fibres are too long and coarse to be inhaled, so will not irritate the respiratory system or cause allergic reactions, making it ideal for allergy sufferers and for babies. Wool is also naturally resistant to the growth of bugs and mites, which is great news for small children.
- warm in cool conditions and cooler in warm conditions. Unlike synthetics, wool is a clever temperature regulator, providing up to ten times greater thermal resistance than any other fibre. When it’s cold, the wool fibres’ cuticles close to keep heat in; when it’s hot, they open to let heat escape.
In many ways, nurseries are nostalgic spaces; we recall our own childhoods when we decorate them for our children. For that reason, we think nurseries should be styled with an air of timelessness. Not only does this work aesthetically but it’s also a more sustainable approach that encourages us to buy once and buy right, rather than making unnecessary purchases for each new baby who joins the family.
With that in mind, here are our tips for creating a nursery that will stand the test of time:
- Choose furnishings with an unfussy, classic profile. Clean, simple styles are less likely to date, meaning your selections can grow with your child or even be incorporated elsewhere in the house at a later stage.
- Use a neutral colour palette rather than following colour trends that will date. Try the 60:30:10 colour rule favoured by many interior designers – choose a primary colour (like white) for 60% of the room, a secondary colour (like oatmeal) for 30%, and allow 10% for accent tones (like light grey). Neutrals work beautifully for boys or girls, and it’s easy to switch in little pops of colour if you feel the need.
- Select furnishings that will last. Opting for good-quality decor is better for the environment because you can reuse it for subsequent children, pass it on to relatives, repurpose it in other areas of your home, or even sell it on when you no longer need it.
A nursery just wouldn’t feel right if it wasn’t cosy, cuddly and soft. Babies love soft environments, spending hours learning the ropes during tummy time on the floor and snuggling close to Mum and Dad while they feed and sleep.
Visually balance the hard edges of cots and change tables by incorporating plenty of plush natural fabrics and curved lines into your nursery. To us, nothing is as cosy as sheepskin. Our Richmond rug is beautifully soft underfoot and perfect for babies to play on. Likewise, our Kingston shearling can be draped over surfaces or used on the floor to create a soft space for small bubs to lie.
Then, find yourself the perfect feeding chair (something that rocks is ideal for soothing babies) and warm it up with our premium sheepskin cushions – you’ll be spending hours of your life in this chair so you might as well make it luxuriously comfortable!
Last but definitely not least: make your nursery a functional space. A baby’s room is multipurpose – a space for sleeping, feeding, changing nappies and playing – but it’s important that you don’t make it too busy because overstimulated babies find it hard to go to sleep!
Seek out versatile pieces that can be used in a number of ways while saving you space. Storage baskets are your friends, letting you stash essentials and toys out of sight when they aren’t in use. Similarly, wall hooks are great for hanging towels, clothes, hats and blankets. An open-sided change table allows you to see easily when you’re running out of supplies, and down the track you can adapt it for use as a storage trolley for toys and books.
Our Huxford Grove products can be moved around the home and used for different purposes, making them ideal for nurseries. Our versatile Kingston shearling and Hawkesbury and Hepburn cushions are soft and safe for babies, and can be used in other bedrooms and living spaces. Likewise, our handcrafted Jamieson ottoman comes in two sizes and works wonderfully in nurseries as a footrest, a place to balance a tray of snacks, or a useful surface for babies learning to stand and walk.
Your future self will also thank you for choosing materials, such as sheepskin, that are easy to clean. Children are wonderful but they can make a hell of a mess!
Ready, set, moodboard!
Raring to go? Now that you’re across the five principles listed above, you’re ready to begin planning your nursery.
Any interior designer will tell you that the best place to start when styling a space is with a moodboard. If you’ve never made one before, a moodboard is a collage of images, material samples, colours and words that you can use to guide your styling decisions. The process involves collecting imagery and words that resonate with you, then finding commonalities and patterns between them in order to refine your ideas.
Your favourite pieces of inspiration can then be gathered on either a physical or a digital board forming a visual reference point for you as you style your nursery.
Physical or digital?
You can make an old-school moodboard using magazine cuttings and material samples. Use a large piece of card, a pinboard or a magnetic whiteboard – whatever you’re most comfortable with. The advantage of creating a physical board is that you can incorporate textures (and at Huxford Grove, we love texture!) such as fabric, wallpaper or paint samples.
If you’re more accustomed to collecting inspiration online, you can make a digital moodboard instead. Pinterest is a great place to easily gather images you like and organise them into categories and sub-categories (such as “Nursery” > ”Cots” > ”Bedding”). Once you’ve narrowed down your inspiration, you can use the free online design tool Canva to gather your image selections onto a moodboard, adding words and related typography if you like. Digital moodboards are great because they’re easy to share with others.
Moodboarding in three simple steps
Nurseries are playful spaces filled with love, making them especially fun to moodboard! The steps are simple:
Go wild brainstorming and collecting pictures, snippets of poetry, nursery rhymes, material swatches... all the things that you love when you think of creating a special room for your bub. You may already have a theme in mind (something like “soft Scandinavian sanctuary” or “luxe boho baby”), so use that to guide your choices but keep it loose, flexible and creative at this stage.
Now that you’ve got a stack of pictures, it’s time to ditch the things that don’t belong. You’ll notice colours, materials, textures and shapes that recur in your choices; anything that clashes (particularly colour-wise) can be discarded. You’ll start to see a look coming together.
You’ve pared back your choices; now assemble them on a physical or a digital board. Layer your favourite images and samples, add key words or phrases, et voilà! You have yourself a moodboard. Keep referring to it as a visual touchstone as you shop for decor and make styling decisions.
One last tip…
Styling is great fun but remember to do it with soul, rather than slavishly following trends. All families are different, and your nursery is a space for your very own little person – which makes you the expert. Enjoy the process!
Other elements that will make your baby’s room super cosy:
- soft lighting
- a little greenery
- timber tones
- musical mobiles and toys that play sweet lullabies
- wall art and framed family photographs.